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In all likelihood, the scimitar examined by the powerful black man shown here belonged to the artist. Indeed, what we see is a model posing among William Merritt Chase's carefully arranged studio props. This is probably the painting that Chase was completing in Venice for a German client immediately before he returned to the United States. One of the most ambitious undertakings of his early career, The Moorish Warrior demonstrates Chase's desire to participate in the international trend for exotic subjects.
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